When we were contacted by the guys at HSM Group we couldn’t have been more excited. Famous as organizers and managers of some of the best known sports events in Australia, they wanted an inflatable arch to create with a wow factor for the first Oceanway Ride event, on the Gold Coast.
What made this event special, was that rather than being competitive, it was aimed at the whole community, from the under 5s to more experienced riders.
The client wanted an eyecatching custom start finish arch. It had to display the sponsors branding. As the rides weren’t competitive it was likely that the cyclists would stay more or less close to each other, so it had to be wide enough for several riders to pass through at the same time.
As the Oceanway Rides was going to become an annual event, the arch also had to be sturdy enough to be re-used over the coming years.
We couldn’t wait to discuss the project with the client .We already had experience of creating custom inflatables for other clients, so we were bursting with ideas about how we could make something really special.
The first step was to gain a thorough understanding of what HSM wanted to the arch to achieve. We also needed to know if there were any constraints we’d need to consider. For example, in the case of high winds, safety would be an important factor and we’d need to ensure that the arch would remain secured to its base.
Based on their brief, and using our previous experience of giant inflatable arch construction, our design team got down to work.
The first feature was the size. Due to the nature of the event, it had to be high enough to be visible from a distance. We suggested a 4m inside height the arch with 5m total height.
It also had to be wide enough for a number of cyclists to pass through safely, at the same time, so inside width was 6m and total width, 8m. While this was a large arch, we had previously designed even larger ones for other clients, so we had no doubts about what we could achieve.
The unusual part of this project was the square design of the custom start finish arch. Square corners create more strength for a large arch. The horizontal top bar offered a fantstic opportunity to create an eye-catching marketing banner, with the name of the event clearly visible, and distinct from the sponsors branding.
The arch was going to be re-used in subsequent years. As sponsors may change over time, velcro fastenings were attached to the legs, so that panels, with the branding of current sponsors, could be attached and removed as required.
This way, if sponsors changed, only the costs of printing new panels would be incurred.
Finally, it had to be very easy to set up and take down, as this work would be done by non-specialists.
Once we had every detail of the design brief we got to work on the 2D drawings. These included the dimensions, banner and panel designs, down to the colour of Velcro we were suggesting! The client gave us the go-ahead so without delay we moved to the next stage – making the arch.
The next step was the creation of a 3D rendering of the arch, using our advanced CAD software. Again, communication with the client is always key for us, and we wanted them to be as excited as we were to see what the end product would look like.
As soon as the client signed off on the design, our production team took over to start building the custom start finish arch. This is where the magic happened as the concept swiftly turned into reality.
Once the 3D rendering was transformed into a cutting pattern, our manufacturing team began assembling the giant inflatable arch.
We also created print samples, to make sure that the final colour was true to the desired colour. They were a perfect match.
Our production team excelled themselves! After cutting and fabricating, the giant inflatable was thoroughly tested, as always.
It was also size-tested, in case of any slight change in dimensions after inflation. This isn’t usually a concern, but we like to keep clients informed about even the smallest departure from our original design.
The custom start finish arch was delivered within the agreed deadline ready for use at their upcoming outdoor event.
It was a fabulous talking point, and featured as a backdrop in countless photos and social media posts. Best of all, it was easy to use and pack away, ready to use in the years ahead.
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